Boston - Boston
Record Label: Epic Records
Release Date: July 25, 1976
To say that Tom Schulz is a perfectionist is to say that I am “casually drinking” on this New Year’s Eve. I am drinking lots, and Tom Schulz, the keyboardist/guitarist/ songwriter/producer for quintessential classic rock band Boston, is a perfectionist of the highest degree. One listen to Boston’s 1976 self-titled rock and roll opus is enough proof of that. Boston may only be eight songs, but it weighs in at a healthy 37 minutes. And considering that there isn’t one damn mistake on the album, it’s a highly enjoyable 37 minutes consisting of phenomenal air-guitar and Brad Delp’s instantly identifiable, high-pitched vocals.
The reason this album is being retro reviewed is because in 2011, it turned 35 years old. In that time, Boston has been certified 17x platinum for sales of over 17 million units in the United States. It has sold another 10 million in Canada, and millions more across the globe. The record is the second best-selling debut album ever…for some reason, Guns’N’Roses sold more copies of Appetite for Destruction.
Opener “More Than A Feeling” is just one of the standout singles from the album; in fact, each of the eight tracks on Boston are still staples on classic rock stations across America, played quite frequently. A slow fade-in starts the album, before Delp’s vocals get everyone settled in. The highlight is undoubtedly the chorus, which is the catchiest piece of music on the whole album. As Delp sings, “More than a feeling / When I hear that old song they used to play,” we sing along, the lyrics now suitable to this song itself. “Piece of Mind” is next in the tracklisting, my personal favorite song on the record. The acoustic guitars here are perfect, and the dual solo in the middle of the record is the best guitar solo on the album.
The epic “Foreplay/Long Time,” which has gained a larger audience due to Guitar Hero and Rock Band placements over the years, chimes in at almost eight minutes but never once provides an opportunity for listeners to lose interest. Keyboards are highlighted here, as the first three tracks show off Boston’s versatility within their signature sound. By direct contrast, “Rock & Roll Band” is the next song, coming in at only three minutes. It’s a fast and easily listenable story about Boston themselves, and while not the most memorable single from the album, it’s among the more popular tracks in the band’s career.
“Smokin’” and “Something About You” are both highlighted by their respective guitar riffs, and they sandwich “Hitch A Ride,” which is a fantastic song but perhaps the weakest on the record. I guess you could say all of the songs are tied for first place and “Hitch A Ride” comes in at a close second. Closer “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” is a classic rock storytelling track, but it does feature a part with a sped-up tempo that keeps things interesting.
All in all, Boston’s self-titled record is a rare case of an album actually deserving how many units it sold. It highlights the band’s career, and although they were only really relevant throughout the 70s and 80s, Boston provided enough memorable songs to fill up airwaves for 35 years. As nostalgic it is for most of this generation’s parents, the record could serve as a “required listening” introduction to guitar-centric classic rock for the younger generation. As perfect-sounding as the album is, however, it was Tom Schulz’s perfectionism that hindered Boston’s career. Their sound was predictable and consistent throughout their career, and as a result of Schulz’s meticulous songwriting, it took the band six years to write and record their third LP, another six years to release their fourth album, and another eight years to release their fifth. Regardless of the band’s history after the first three LPs (before Delp left the band), including what is rumored to be a 2012 release for a sixth full-length record, one thing is for sure: Boston is a record that will simply never lose its relevancy to classic rock and roll. It is, simply put, perfection in the form of studio writing.
One of the best records of all time even though I somehow think it's cheating to only put 8 tracks on an album... Of course, it is perfect and I wouldn't change a thing about it but I always find it too short when I play it.
Peace of Mind is my favorite too. Great review!
Also, I would like to thank one of our local radio stations for still playing Peace of Mind and More Than A Feeling once every two weeks... on sundays. Always cheers things up.
"Foreplay/Long Time" on Rock Band was what got me into Boston, along with the DLC release of the rest of the songs on the album (except for "Let Me Take You Home Tonight"). Fantastic from top to bottom.